Some animal experts have asserted that pets intuitively eat plants according to their specific medicinal value -- that is, as long as they have several plants to choose from. The problem, however, is that we choose our plants for beauty rather than edibility. So when a pet has only household plants or landscaping to choose from, it can lead to something more serious than a bellyache, especially if the plants are toxic or sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. But, given the right plants to choose from, your pet will be able to treat itself and you won’t need to worry about potential side effects.
Whether you have a large yard space, a small four-foot by four-foot plot, or a windowsill, you can grow a healing garden for your cat or dog. Most of these plants are simple to grow and inexpensive to boot. Even better, many double as home remedies for you and your family.
So without further ado, here are a few tips that will earn you an honorary green thumb.
For an outdoor garden, the burdock herb is an ideal plant. Known for its ability to treat allergies and digestive and kidney issues, the burdock is a traditional medicinal plant used worldwide. A rich soil works best, but be careful to not let this plant grow too large, for it will take over your entire garden when given the opportunity.
Milk thistle, good for liver disorders, is low on demands. It can be grown in wet or dry soil, and in a sunny or partly sunny location. However, remove the flowering heads to prevent it from becoming too weedy.
Peppermint is another easy-to-grow herb. Go to the store, buy the plant, and place it in rich, moist soil -- that's it. Your pet will find the leaves of the peppermint herb, which does well in both sun and shade, useful for indigestion and nausea. Just don’t forget to cut the springs back regularly to encourage healthy growth.
The Astragalus herb, meanwhile, is useful for lowering blood pressure, decreasing blood sugar, improving digestion, and promoting healing. The Astragalus seeds need to be scratched before planting in a sandy soil.
Similarly, garlic is a well-known immune booster. Garlic grass is easy to grow, indoors and outdoors, and can be started from a bulb bought at your local grocery store. Just push the cloves under a quality soil, pointed side up. Keep in mind that the garlic clove, eaten in large amounts, can make your dog ill, and it is toxic to cats. Garlic cloves should not be given to your cat under any circumstance, but the grass that grows from the clove can be nibbled on as your cat feels the need.